Leading by Example: Making Time for Wellness at the Top

Leading by Example: Making Time for Wellness at the Top

Earning a seat at the leadership table as a female executive represents a watershed moment, the culmination of years of relentless drive. However, in the midst of the fruits of success, harsh spotlights now shine, awaiting that first major slip-up.

Alongside fiduciary duties weighing heavily, the C-suite environment grows more complex and fast-paced. Endless meetings, presentations to the board, cafe-fueled 16-hour days to hit targets, international calls at odd hours, and constant pressure to exceed quarterly forecasts while inspiring large teams–such is the life for female trailblazers shattering glass ceilings.

It's no surprise that even after achieving professional success, imposter syndrome continues to resurface. Anxiety builds, self-care falters, and burnout looms as warning signs get overridden, striving at all costs to prove doubters wrong about women leaders lacking grit and strategic mettle. So, personal health slips quietly through the success gaps despite climbing so high.

The responsibility lies with current female commanding officers to drive change top-down by role modeling realistic integration of self-care, not just through policies but personal behaviors setting a cultural tone. The leader walks the talk, so leading by visible example matters and immensely inspires teams.

Here, we present strategies that empower senior women to achieve sustainable peak performance while prioritizing their health and well-being from leadership positions:

Rethink Real Productivity

With the betrayal of the body now regarded as a duty, reset how performance gets measured beyond rigid hours clocked, emails answered, or meetings powered through. Embed metrics tracking outcomes like life satisfaction alongside sales targets and consumer ratings alongside mindfulness minutes marked.

Make well-being fundamental by designing workflow scorecards monitoring both business and personal health vitals. Ensure calories of energy expended at work align with wholesome fuel from self-care activities, recharging resilience. Anchor productivity to composite dashboards, uplifting lives holistically.

Coach the Coaches

The well-worn axiom rings true: you cannot give what you don't have. Find ways to uplift the uplifters, avoiding trickle-down burnout. Support managers and team leaders often find themselves overwhelmed. Through workshops, we guide them to spot signs in reports, provide mental health first aid responses, conduct Crucial Conversations on boundaries, and lead with compassion that permeates down hierarchies.

Launch Wellness Adventures

Move the metric from mandated hours spent heads-down at desks to goals achieved and impact created. Through incentive programs built into workflows, encourage employees to log outdoor walks, at-home stretch breaks, and self-care activities that cultivate clearer strategic thinking.

Lead from the front by blocking off visible Wellness Adventure Windows in calendars, replacing them with outdoor meetings and designated hours for recharging, while also promoting device-free time to encourage movement. Inspire teams through your actions rather than just issuing decrees.

Normalize the Dialogue

Despite lingering outdated stigmas and fears that self-care concessions may suggest inadequate resilience, pioneer courageous conversations from leadership positions to normalize struggles. Share stories openly about managing overwhelming periods, battling imposter syndrome, and coping with distress caused by toxic hustle culture, which research shows to be counterproductive.

Make space for vulnerability, not weakness—set tones for trustworthy environments where teams below also feel psychologically safe, surfacing limitations before breaking down. Destigmatize humanness by leading with it first.

Make it a Movement with Symbols

Rally the troops towards a cultural transformation through unifying symbols and recurring touchpoints - monthly well-being newsletters reinforced by screen savers, a Bring Your Dog to Work day, surprise wellness goodie bags, self-care vision board workshops, handing out plants instead of plaques, informational relaxation podcasts in common areas.

Shape badges of honor for self-care priorities instead of praise for overtime. Make every meeting start with a quick guided meditation or gratitude practice. Infuse symbols subtly shift mindsets top down.

Incentivize Wellness Targets

To help female leaders and managers below them walk the talk of integrated self-care, implement tangible incentives at organizational level – extra mental health days earned annually for consistent vacation days utilized, on-site chair massages or gym access for weekly exercise logged, one work-from-home day monthly for voluntary overtime achieved, reimbursed rentals for outdoor gear tried. Make time for health irresistible and accessible.

Lead Unplugged Retreats

Provide immersive experiences exposing senior teams directly to well-being practices that infuse refreshed strategic thinking post-retreat – designated digital detox days with access restored only for emergencies, communal nature hikes invoking creativity, fly fishing workshops focused on presence, cooking classes facilitating trust via collaboration, art journal sessions for stress relief visualization, culminating in structured vision planning on uplifting company culture. Make self-care intrinsic to leadership skills.

The reality is that genuine culture change requires patience; it doesn't break deeply embedded habits overnight. However, momentum accelerates exponentially when female chieftains believe that well-being fuels sustainable excellence rather than hinders it.

It necessitates first adopting self-care behaviors personally as leaders before organizations follow suit. Progress flows organically when employees witness those commanding the helm prioritizing health, unlocking their best too. Walk the talk before you talk the walk!

So, lead by example first. Set the tone through visibility of self-care commitments instead of just policies. Demonstrate the mindset shift, not just expect it. And by role modeling well-being intrinsically, female vanguards organically realign how 21st-century workplaces approach productivity for posterity. 

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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